Alien parasite warts. What more needs to be said?
What They Say:
"Everyone looks pretty grown-up after summer break" Shinpachi finds himself in stuck in a completely different world. That is when the Shinsengumi sends a berserk Yamazaki to pick up the bewildered Shinpachi.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The return of Gintama has been fairly fun in its first episode as it supposedly shifted things forward a couple of years and showed us how everyone changed. Amusingly, all the changes are for the better in my opinion that would give the series a much needed bit of improvement in shaking things up a bit. With Shinpachi being the only one who hadn't changed during the break during episodes, he's shocked to learn that two years have passed. Gin is pretty solid now as he plays up his Kenshin look and Kagura is hot and confident while still being somewhat goofy. Of course, there's some oddness as well as Shinpachi learns how a certain group of characters are now essentially trannies as he puts it.
The strangeness continues easily in this follow-up episode, especially with Jimmy Yamazaki now taking on the role of the vice commander, but one that's hilariously addicted to anpan that he just breathes it in from a plastic bag and uses the 'an' word at the end of sentences to show just how addicted he is. There's some fun as we see more of the shinsengumi and their plans about taking over Edo but that in order to do so, they have to make sure they take down the Kabuki district first since that would be their biggest challenge and the one that would come back in the end to bite them in the rear. The group has never been particularly, well, intimidating, and they're certainly not here, but it is amusing to see them all so focused on a goal together, even if it freaks the hell out of Shinpachi.
Of course, with this being the second half of the two parter, the big reveal has to be made and it's a somewhat predictable one. With the need to put everything back into the right, an alien issue arrives as it turns out that a parasitic wart has been latching onto people and altering them in various ways. Which explains so much of what's going on. What it doesn't do is erase the pain that comes across the screen as we have a lengthy segment involving several of the women, several of the men as women, bringing their babies together that came from sudden conception to birth pregnancies, where they aren't all exactly human. In fact, only one of them is. It goes in such a weird direction before everything is finally resolved that it feels like it's almost too much bizarreness in one sequence for a normal person to handle.
Sadly, the resetting of everything back to the norms and the plan to latch onto the manga adaptations again means we'll be back on track in the next episode like we never really left the show. Which isn't a bad thing since it's a case of why mess with success. Granted, I would have liked for several of these changes to have stuck simply because it would have shaken up the narrative a bit and added some new potential twists, but Gintama is a show that knows it's not being held back by anything. Whatever they want to do, it can be done through some gimmick or trick. Much of it is very reminiscent of Urusei Yatsura for me in this respect, but I'm still not completely latched onto any of the characters since they're all so self serving. It turns the show into a piece of work where I just enjoy watching them freak out or being abused. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.